As anticipated, Councilman Mickey Kearns announced to a large crowd at Delaware Park’s Marcy Casino tonight that he intends to enter the race for mayor of Buffalo. Buffalo Rising’s RaChaCha was present for the announcement speech, which he’ll write up later, but a chance to talk to Kearns first-hand revealed quite a few things about the issues that are closest to his heart.
First on Kearns’ list was neighborhoods. “I want to concentrate on neighborhoods, on making them liveable and safe. I plan to have police walking the beat, restructuring the department on the streets,” Kearns said. “And I plan to do extensive work with planners and residents to make sure the neighborhoods are sound through a comprehensive coordination of efforts.”
He called to mind the Cazenovia Resource Center he’s been closely involved with in his own council district. “In my administration, I’ll make it a point to spend one day out of the office every week that will be devoted to different neighborhoods. I plan to conduct this sort of listening tour because I believe politicians forget to listen to the people. I’ll be a hands-on mayor,” Kearns vowed.
When asked about the housing situation in various neighborhoods, Kearns said he plans to go after abandoned housing through listening to experts. “I’ll look at shrinking cities. I’ll look at all solutions,” he said. “We need a plan. In 2006 I went to Biloxi, Mississippi for a planning conference, and Andres Duany presented his SmartCode. The idea was to identify areas and their needs and go after them.” Kearns said that as mayor, he would look into this again.
“Mine will be an administration of action,” Kearns stated. “As a councilmember, I constantly look for solutions to problems. City Hall itself needs to go through an audit process so that each and every department is running efficiently and smoothly, to the benefit of the workers and the tax payers.”
As for schools, Kearns says he has a good relationship with Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools Dr. James Williams and that his daughter attends South Park – his father’s alma mater. “I put my money where my mouth is,” he said.
The waterfront, according to Kearns will be a priority, if elected. “I want to make the most of our assets. Do you realize how much prime acreage the Skyway takes up?” he asked.
“When I’m mayor I’ll be making a commitment to the city to be everything it can. I’ve traveled all over to other cities as a councilman, and every time I saw innovative things, I would ask myself, ‘Why can’t we do that?’ I know we can do all of those things, and as mayor, I intend to.”
Image: Erin, Mickey and McKenna Kearns.